@FC3ARCHITECTURE – Architecture Shall Live On / Architecture Manifesto

I was honored to be asked to write a “Dear Destin” letter in the memory of my friend and teacher, Stephen Perrella (RIP).  For a son (Destin) to know and understand his father through his legacy and the remnants of what was left behind is challenging but without memories we cannot be human.  Without Architecture one cannot truly appreciate life.  Great Architecture is all around us.  It is important for us to celebrate it each and every day.  It is important for all of us to reflect and teach the young ones around us what it means to be alive.  To inhabit a great space is to love and to live.  To me, great Architecture is a gift to be cherished.

February 22, 2011

Dear Destin,

Your father Stephen Perrella is a special person who was gifted in many ways. To me he was a teacher, a friend, and a colleague. Most of all he was a theorist. He formulated, devised, calculated. He manipulated, transformed, and sculpted space. He was a weaver of space.

Before I begin I have to say that your birth changed Stephen for the better. You filled a void in his soul that no one else could. You enriched his soul and thirst for life. He lived each day for you. After you were born, Stephen was at peace with himself and transformed his pursuit from theory to the built.

Architecture design left un-built is not really Architecture, but merely a lot of ideas. You must build in order for something to be considered Architecture.

Architecture is the marriage of art and science of designing and erecting buildings and other physical structures. Architecture is a style and method of design and construction of buildings and other physical structures for human use.

Although more than a decade has past since I took his class I still hold his 4 principals of Architecture/Theory/Design close to me. Not a day goes by when I do not think about what he taught me.

Sign Structure Context Program

These four simple words are the devices that I use every time I design “space.” Although the meaning of these words evolves with the passing of time, these canons have passed the test of time.

The general (abbreviated) definitions are as follows:

Sign

In true Venturian spirit (1), our first lesson in Stephen’s studio was to examine signs along the roadway. The “image,” “face,” “aesthetic,” “look” of something created is the “Sign,” a modern day façade.

Like Filippo Brunelleschi before him, Stephen was interested in spatial theory. The Florentine Architect and Engineer Brunelleschi was the first to carry out a series of optical experiments that led to a mathematical theory of perspective.

When I design, and I think of Signage, I think of what one will see. How the Architectural object will be seen and remembered. It is important to consider this since Architecture is often considered an object someone looks at from the outside.

Structure

After that examination was complete, Stephen asked us to look at how the signage was structured.The structure itself becomes integral to the design of space and what I remember most was Stephen’s passion for the great philosophers like Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (2). In particular I remember reading “The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque,” but Stephen got me so excited that I bought every philosophy book I could get my hands on.

Context

As important as what something look likes or how it stands is to know how it is placed in it’s surrounding. This became the third study in Stephen’s studio.

I remember looking at information and flow of information from a theoretical standpoint and my view of what context could be. In today’s world, context changes (telecommunications for example). We studied Bernard Tschumi’s “Architecture and Disjunction” and learned about how program, context, image could be interchanged so that the design would be altered. For example, take an existing cathedral and adapt it as a parking garage. To think of Architecture as an object and then transform it’s context changes how the object is perceived, which leads me to Stephen’s final principle.

Program

By the chronological placement of this final study I have to assume that your father believed in “Function FOLLOWS Form” (3) although I can be wrong. At the time of teaching this class Stephen was not only “competing” with himself but with other Architects like Reiser and Umemoto. As you may know by now Stephen coined the term, “Hypersurface,” which was an archetype or typology of architectural production.

Once you put these four parts together to develop a system a unique theoretical work of Architecture can be created.

The system that is created to produce the design changes each time and the result is always different. This is a fantastic attribute in a world that longs for uniqueness and creativity. I have not fully realized everything that I want to realize in my young career yet, but I know that armed with the education your father gave me I can use these principals to produce wonderful Architecture.

I hope this brief recap is only the beginning and we can share more ideas on Stephen’s life one day soon.

Truly Yours,

Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB

References:

(1) Venturi, Robert, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour. Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1977

(1) Gilles Deleuze (18 January 1925 – 4 November 1995) was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co- written with Félix Guattari. His metaphysical treatise Difference and Repetition (1968) is considered by scholars to be his magnum opus.

(3) “Form follows function” is a principle associated with modern Architecture and industrial design in the 20th century. The principle is that the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose.

Some images of my third year studio project with Stephen (Spring of 1996 at NJIT SOA):

Las Vegas Hotel of the Future – Floor Plan

The shape of the movement of the Architectural form is informed by the mountains surrounding Las Vegas, NV.

Las Vegas Hotel of the Future – Information is Gathered

The human Body and the Folds were examined for this project.

Las Vegas Hotel of the Future – Information Flows

The elegance of the ballerina versus the vulgarity of the LV Strippers was analyzed.
Perhaps the Show Girl fits someplace in the middle?

Las Vegas Hotel of the Future – Information is Disseminated

If Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In existed, this project would emulate the feeling
of “plugging” into something greater than oneself.  The Architectural space produced by
“the object” is informed by moving/experiencing the city following the rhythm of its context.

Las Vegas Hotel of the Future – The Show Girls & Strippers Inform

Can Show Girls and Strippers inform great Arhcitecture and spaces? Sure why not?
Architecture can be sexy and smart.

Information Flows thru the Strip Like a Cyclone or Tornado like an Information Hurricane carving space.

I guess there was a collective consciousness arising about social awareness and a social
consciousness because the idea here was that the occupants of the city of the future would all
contribute to the overall Architectural object.  The building itself was comprised of the people who
inhabited it (kinda like those smart vechicles that plug in and chain up on the road to create
super-trains that create hierarchical domination over the less efficient vehicles on the road).

Las Vegas Hotel of the Future – The occupants and the space are one.

Does the Architecture inhabit the occupant or vice-versa?

Nomadic Space / Nomadic Occupants

The whole idea is that Architecture is NOT static.  It moves with the flow of energy/information
and engulfs the occupants within it as it speeds through the city, plugging in from one space to another.

There is an “Information Exchange” throughout City

The result of the “carving” of space is that imprints are left on the existing hotels on the Strip.
The “old” Architecture is informed by the “new” spinning object (a bit like Zaha and Libeskind).

The bright lights, neon lights, gambling games, billboard signs and the
natural landscape of the mountains surrounding the Strip all inform the Architecture of the
City and inform the shape of the Hotel of the Future.
The sculpture that is created carves space and changes the landscape of the City.
The hotel of the future exchanges information by moving throughout the Strip.The cyclone / tonado / hurricane that is “the process” of creating the design can
cease to exist and what is left over becomes the Architecture of the City.
The Architecture is informed by the form that is created.  The Architecture exposes its structure.
Occupants “plug” into the Architecture by communicating with others.  (Back then there was no
social media (Aghhh), but in a sense that is what I had in mind when I developed this project.)
About these ads

29 Comments on “@FC3ARCHITECTURE – Architecture Shall Live On / Architecture Manifesto”

  1. segmation says:

    Very interesting Architecture! Thanks for sharing this. You might like to take a look at my blog that discusses schizophrenia and art at http://segmation.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/an-overview-of-outsider-art-www-segmation-com/. Thank you for allowing my comments.

  2. excellent post and illustrations..

  3. fc3arch says:

    Thank you, Segmation. I signed up for your interesting blog and hope you subscribe to mine as well.

  4. fc3arch says:

    William, Thank You very much! Always appreciate reader feedback!

  5. Laureen says:

    Brilliant Frank, a beautifully written tribute to Stephen Perrella and superb visuals. He sounds like the teacher everyone wishes they had. Your work is so beautiful and moving. Thank you for sharing it.

  6. Rocktique says:

    Frank, I had seen the letter the other day, as I had told you, absolutely beautiful. I did not however, notice the pictures…I’m glad I came back here. The photos are like candy to the eye. Your talent amazes me! Thank you for sharing

  7. cath says:

    Given that architecture is not a biological life form, you could still argue the case that this is symbiosis in the true sense that both the structure and the humans are dependent on each other to function/exist/create. The social media of today just reinforces this I believe, and too bad it wasn’t around back then…

    I hope Destin grows to an age to understand and appreciate the manifesto you have presented so eloquently.

    Thanks for sharing this with me.
    ~cath
    (@jonesbabie on Twitter)

    • fc3arch says:

      I think as time passes he will understand that his father’s spirit of designated architecture lives on….. Even if only in our hearts! 2013 is going to be great ~ Sending you lots of love, hope, peace, health, happiness and prosperity!

  8. fc3arch says:

    Thank You, Laureen, We were very forunate to have many great teachers. But Don Wall, John Nastasi, Farnaz Mansuri, and Stephen certainly stood out.

  9. fc3arch says:

    Rocktique, Thank You for re-commenting on my work! I always appreciate your valuable feedback. You are a great friend!

  10. fc3arch says:

    Cath, That was very deep. I enjoy (and appreciate) our dialog and and am now following your blog: http://cjtittle.blogspot.com. I am looking forward to more thoughtful dialog.

  11. Mary Perrella says:

    Frank,
    The gift the Calvanico’s gave Destin was the most heartfelt gesture I could ever imagine. Thank you so much for your letter, and do hope one day you can sit down and begin to describe to Destin how Hypersurface affected your experience within architecture.
    With much thanks,
    Mary

    • fc3arch says:

      Mary, 2013 is going to be great ~ Sending you lots of love, hope, peace, health, happiness and prosperity! We wish you and your loved ones all the best and hope to meet you and see the house soon.

  12. Charise says:

    Frank,

    Very beautiful tribute. I really like the what you wrote about moving from idea to reality/ mere execution(in below quotes). This can be true for almost everything.

    “Architecture design left un-built is not really Architecture, but merely a lot of ideas. You must build in order for something to be considered Architecture.”

    Thank you.

  13. Pedro de Almeida Ramos says:

    Frank,
    It was interesting to read about these four parts of devices that you use every time you design “space”. At the last device “Program”, “Function FOLLOWS Form”, it’s a witty statement. I accept the idea if you have already the “form” and adapt that to a “function”.
    At the reference (2) you write (1).
    I enjoyed to see the images.
    Thanks for your contribuition to improuve my knowldge in Architecture.
    Pedro

  14. I found this on Twitter and I am happy I clicked on the Link. This is amazing. Too many People do not realize how important Architecture is.

  15. Architect says:

    Why I LOVE Architecture!!!

  16. I need to to thank you for this excellent read!
    ! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I’ve got you book marked to look at new stuff you post…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Good day! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the great info
    you have right here on this post. I shall be coming again to your weblog for more soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,324 other followers